Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stomping The Invisible Brake: Part 2

Wednesday I headed back out with Girlie Girl for driving practice. I must say I've been pretty patient, which is surprising even to me. We started out on this trip by listing a few driving skills which I felt were important.

The theme for yesterday's practice was "Staying in our lane." That's a big one, and rather important, not only to us but to on-coming traffic. We've mostly been tooling around the residential area where we live, there's not much traffic, and we encounter few cars at intersections. This weekend I'd like to move from the side streets to our main roads of Antioch and 87th Street Parkway. Both have traffic lights (OMG!) and two lanes in each direction. I'm a little concerned because she tends to take her right turns to sharp, barely misses the curb, then goes into the left lane to straighten it out and back into the right lane. That's when the invisible brake pedal gets a LOT of action. Left turns: she doesn't take sharp enough. She doesn't begin the turn until she's almost past the road where we wish to turn. Then, she comes to a complete stop, takes the left, goes into the other lane, and over corrects into our lane, barely missing the curb. Meanwhile, I'm clutching my chest and stomping on the floor.

We needed some serious practice. You think? Yeah. So where do you go when you need something? WalMart! Our local WalMart has a very large parking lot with a "nose bleed section" off to the side, separated by a long divider, almost as if it were an entirely different parking lot. It's always devoid of cars and equipment, but it has the "islands," light posts and lane markings. Perfect!

I started by taking the wheel and showing Girly the correct way to make a left turn. Hand over hand, then straightening out the car, all while staying on the correct side of the lane. Girly was very attentive. Isn't it amazing how attentive teenagers can be when they really want something? I let her get back in the driver's seat and we went up and down the lanes, taking left turns at each end. It was a bit like the Indy 500: drive, take a left, drive, take a left. Except ours was a wee bit slower, and awkward. But it worked. After about a hundred rounds, she was pretty good at it. The only problem that persists is the five second freak-out before every turn.

We then proceeded to work on right turns. Down the row, take a right, down the row. For some reason she's experiencing more trouble with the right turns. She just doesn't know when to make the turn, we either hit the curb or swing it wide. After about half-an-hour of practice, she made a lot of improvement.

I think she'll need a lot of supervised time behind the wheel to build up her confidence. All in all, not a bad day.

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